Sunday, February 28, 2010

News & Rumors 2/22/10 - 2/28/10

News and Rumors are gathered from various different websites. One particular website is not favored over another. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such.


  • New for this year's Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot, a breakfast that will be available on select days called the Garden Town breakfast. See the previous post for more information about this new breakfast and info about the Flower and Garden Festival.
  • DVC guests now have something to celebrate at the form of a button. Much like those guests sporting buttons heralding birthdays and anniversaries, DVC member buttons celebrate how long a member has been with DVC. Buttons can be picked up at their DVC resorts, Guest Relations, or DVC information kiosks.
  • Mickey's Jammin Jungle Parade at Disney's Animal Kingdom has moved back to it's 3:45 time slot.
  • A new gift shop will be coming to the China Pavilion called the Good Fortune Gift Shop.
  • Summer Nightastic is expected to run June 6th - Aug 14th.
  • MuppetVision 3D at Disney's Hollywood Studios is expected to close for refurbishment April 24th - May 14th.
  • The Wide World of Sports is officially the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.


  • It's being rumored that monthly payment plans may become possible for Annual Passholders at WDW, much like they already do in California. The WDW version is expected to only be available to Florida residents and will require a deposit and credit card payments.
  • There's a good chance when Toy Story 3 opens up, that Toy Story Midway Mania may be seeing some new game overlays. Some of the games may feature Lotso the Bear and Stretch the Octopus.
  • Some character changes: the Up characters are going to Disney's Animal Kingdom, Lotso the Bear from Toy Story 3 will be going to the Animation area and Ariel is rumored to be going where Prince Caspian was located.
  • The Wave at Disney's Contemporary Resort may be changing it's name to The Wave of American Flavors.
  • It's being rumored that there's a possibility that the Main Street Electrical Parade may end up sticking around after it's summer run...sticking all the way to Fall 2011.
  • It's being rumored there may be some version of Captain Jack Sparrow on-board the Disney Dream, the form it is expected to take is unknown, as it could very well be virtual.
  • There may be a possible new attraction for Downtown Disney, possibly involving water.
  • The new drop sequence for Tower of Terror may start during Memorial Weekend.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

First comes Winter, then comes Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival!

Spring is almost here! Want to know how I know? Because starting a week from today, Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival will be kicking off it's annual run.

From March 3, until May 16th, Epcot will be filled with beautiful flowers and topiaries and other activities revolving around having a green thumb.

My favorite activity for this time of year involve all the amazing topiaries that are produced. The one in Epcot's main entryway should be outstanding, as Donald, Goofy, Daisy, and Pluto will have set up camp, celebrating the great outdoors and will include a North American theme.

As mentioned before, some of the new events for this year include, a community garden where the Fab 5 will gather in topiary form at the American Adventure, tending to a vegetable patch, as a salute to the many community gardens throughout the country; a further expanded Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden area, with Fawn's Butterfly House (formerly known as Minnie's Butterfly House); and finally a topiary version of Minnie and Mickey in American Gothic form at the World Showcase Plaza.

Also new this year, is something that's recently been announced. In Garden Town, you can enjoy a breakfast prepared with fresh ingredients from the Land Pavilion and learn garden and culinary tips while dining. The cost will be $60 per person plus tax and will take place March 21st, April 18th, and May 16th from 10:30 am - 12:30 pm. Reservations will more than likely be necessary.

Returning favorites include the Flower Power Concerts, which will take place on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights at 5:15, 6:30, and 7:45 pm.; Disney Gardening at Home Programs where Disney horticulturalists will teach guests in a take-home project; The Great American Gardeners Series where gardening celebrities will give some of their secrets; and the Garden Town Festival Center with festival merchandise and speaker presentations.

For anyone who will be attending the Festival this year, you can get a sneak peak of the park map here.

For anyone who wants more information about all the great Springtime festivities, visit Disney's website at

Finally, some facts, straight from Disney about the Flower and Garden Festival:

-30 million blooms blanket the park throughout the festival, which runs 75 colorful days.

-More than 100 topiaries displayed throughout the park add up to 60 tons of plant materials.

-More than 70 Disney character topiaries represent the largest collection of Disney character topiary in the world and include classic film stars like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, Pluto, Cinderella and Tinker Bell.

-At 14 feet tall, Goofy is the tallest character topiary ever created.

-600 native butterflies, more than ever before, represent up to 10 species at Fawn’s Butterfly House, a gazebo-type screened enclosure filled with lush plants where guests can view the colorful butterflies. Among the garden’s two dozen nectar plants are Cape Royal plumbago, passion flower, coral honeysuckle, blazing star, butterfly bush, scarlet milkweed and canna lily.

-More than 500,000 plants, trees and shrubs are planted for the festival; 250,000 of those are annual blossoms installed for the festival.

-Festival plants include 60 different species of trees, 47 types of palms, and 48 varieties of bedding plants.

-At least 25 different plants, grasses and mosses of various colors, including pink and red begonias, dusty miller, palm fiber, palm seeds, ficus and lichen, are used to create and define features of the festival topiaries. More color has been added to the topiaries than in any previous topiary presentation.

-More than 15 floral, herbal and spice ingredients of 10 popular perfumes are revealed in the Fragrance Garden presented by Guerlain at the France pavilion. Guests can sniff the enduring fragrance Shalimar to discover botanical notes that include lemon, Arabian jasmine and vanilla. Some components of nine other Guerlain fragrances include mimosa, magnolia, rose, nutmeg and vetivergrass.

-198 hands-on gardening demonstrations and seminars will be presented.

-Forty-four “flower towers” of impatiens line Innoventions Plaza.

-120 floating mini-gardens, each three feet in diameter, of multi-hued impatiens provide splashes of color on two ponds that border the walkway between Future World and World Showcase.

-700 container gardens of flowers, herbs, plants and vegetables in clay pots, barrels and urns enhance the landscape throughout Epcot.

-600 Walt Disney World horticulturists are needed to install the festival landscape, topiaries and many exhibits; 100 Epcot horticulturists maintain topiaries and other festival displays.

-It takes more than one full year and about 24,000 cast member hours to prepare for the annual festival.

-The festival’s weekend Flower Power concert series includes 11 artists and groups with 126 Top 40 hits, including 16 No. 1 songs. This year’s musical hit-makers from the 1960s and '70s include Jose Feliciano, Paul Revere & The Raiders, David Cassidy, Starship featuring Mickey Thomas, Tony Orlando, Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone, Ricky Nelson Remembered Featuring the Nelsons, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Fran Cosmo, Davy Jones, and Chubby Checker & The Wildcats.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

News & Rumors 2/15/10 - 2/21/10

News and Rumors are gathered from various different websites. One particular website is not favored over another. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such.


  • If you want to visit the ESPN Wide World of Sports, there has been a change to the service. Now, instead of picking up the bus at Disney's Hollywood Studios, service will now be provided between Disney's All Star Resorts, Disney's Pop Century, Disney's Caribbean Beach and the Wide World of Sports complex. The new route will take place, typically, from 7 am - 11 pm, dependent of events, of course.
  • The pool slide at Disney's Wilderness Lodge is under refurbishment and will be closed through April 1st. The pool will remain open but for those in search of a slide, the pool at the Contemporary is available for use.
  • The Ranchos quiet pool at Disney's Coronado Springs will close for refurbishment March 1st - March 13th.
  • Set up has begun for the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.
  • Speaking of the Flower and Garden Festival, the Flower Power concert series artists have been announced: March 5-7: Jose Feliciano March 12-14: Paul Revere & The Raiders March 19-21: David Cassidy March 26-28: Starship featuring Mickey Thomas April 2-4: Tony Orlando April 9-11: Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone April 16-18: Ricky Nelson Remembered featuring the Nelsons April 23-25: Atlanta Rhythm Section April 30-May 2: Fran Cosmo (Former lead singer of Boston) May 7-9: Davy Jones May 14 – 16: Chubby Checker & The Wildcats. The concerts take place at the American Gardens Theater at 5:15 pm, 6:30 pm, and 7:45 pm.
  • Grad Nights will take place April 23rd, 24th, 30th and May 1st at the Magic Kingdom. The parks will close early those nights for the event.


  • The former Planet Hollywood store, is going to be turned into a store called D-Street. This new store will be the flagship Vinylmation store, featuring anything Vinylmation related.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

WDW Educational Experiences

This past week on the Be Our Guest Podcast we talked about whether you should take your kids out of school for WDW trips, which is always a hot topic in the Disney community. We also discussed some educational experiences that you can have while visiting. (To hear the actual show visit )

The show was very informative for people who are considering a school time trip as we discussed things you can do during the trip that will also work as learning tools for your children. But I feel we left out so many great options for things in the park that can be educational. There's so much in the parks that you can learn from--things you may have never even thought of.

So, without further adieu, here are some other options of activities that you can participate in that will help your children (or even you) learn from.

For those who want a taste of American History, you should definitely take in the Hall of Presidents. It was educational before, but ever since they updated it, I feel as the educational value has been upped tremendously. This is a great taste of what the Presidency actually entails. It can teach children about the importance of the position and of course, they can learn about some of the most famous presidents of all time.

However, for another taste of American History, look no further than the American Adventure pavilion. There is a treasure trove of education there. Starting in the lobby, with the musuem that's there. Then, of course, the actual show teaches a great deal about how our country has grown and prospered over the past 200 years. This is a great place for kids to really actually see what they've learned in a textbook and realize, that it's not just words. What they've read had actually happened.

Another look at American History, albeit it an totally unorthodox kind of way is to take your kids on the Carousel of Progress. This attraction also really shows kids what life was like living throughout the last century. (Just ignore how out of touch the last scene is...I'm still waiting on my talking oven. lol!) While this attraction is as little more lighthearted, it does shed a lot of great light on how we've progressed as a country, yet again. From the evolution of electricity, to the fact that traveling across the country used to take much longer than it does now, to what life was like without air conditioning, and even a look at how media, like the radio and television has morphed through time. All of this, while a bit trivial, is still important in learning about where we've come from and what we've been through.

Of course, there's also a lot of Science that can take place. Look no further than the Universe of Energy. Sure, it's not the most updated attraction, (I mean, Ellen looks a tad different, Alex Trebeck has no mustache, and I doubt kids nowadays know who Bill Nye is) however, the basic principles are still important. Some of what was discussed back then still applies to where we are now. And of course, we learn that the most important thing for the future is Brain Power.

And if you want a pavilion that is almost completely educational, take a look at The Land at Epcot. (Granted, Soarin is not a great learning tool.) However, the Circle of Life film takes an important look at animals and how the chain of life really works. Plus, Living With The Land is important in extolling the virtues of actually living in harmony with the land and what can happen when we don't care about taking care of such a vital part of life.

You can learn about marine life in The Seas Pavilion. Granted, The actual ride isn't very educational, but there's a ton to explore in the actual pavilion. Lots of great ways to interact with the fish, sharks, turtles, manatees, and other sea creatures that live there. And even Turtle Talk with Crush can have educational moments to it.

Want to teach your kids about the value of a dollar? Or teach them what to do in the case of a fire? Or how math can be used to create roller coasters? Look no further than Innoventions. These areas have grown exponentially recently with lots of new learning opportunities for families. And the great thing is, it keeps getting updated! So, lots new stuff is constantly on it's way.

Of course, I can even see education in something like Test Track. I know most people think, Test Track, really? I don't see education in that. But, if you take a look at it, it teaches something that many people never see...and that's what it's actually like for a car to get put through the paces to make sure they're safe. (some recent car companies may want to take a visit to this attraction...) I know I would have never seen what a proving ground really looks like, so to me, this is something totally educational.

You could even take a trip in One Man's Dream and teach kids about the life of Walt Disney. Reading biographies is a common practice in school...well, in this attraction, you're getting to WALK THROUGH the biography. It's spelled out in pictures and artifacts, not just words on a page.

Of course there are tons of other opportunities to learn in the parks and I'm sure I've missed quite a few. I just wanted to get a few more ideas in your heads about what could be learned on a Walt Disney World trip. And I want to hear your ideas as well. What attractions or activities do you think could be educational? Let me know in the comments section.

Happy Learning!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

News & Rumors 2/8/10 - 2/14/10

News and Rumors are gathered from various different websites. One particular website is not favored over another. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such.


  • As I announced earlier this week, Disney is going to be holding an event this summer called Summer Nightastic! Check out the previous blog post for more information.
  • Peter Pan's Flight is now getting an exterior refurbishment in preparation for the work to be done for the new Fantasyland expansion.
  • Speaking of Fantasyland, construction walls are now starting to be seen in the current Fantasyland.
  • Starting Feb. 23rd, the options for breakfast are going to change at the Maya Grill at Coronado Springs. Instead of a buffet, now it will be all a la carte.
  • The Breathless II is currently unexpectedly out of commission for some maintenance issues
  • The Give a Day Get a Disney Day promotion has been outstanding so far. So far 600,000 have signed up for it! If you haven't yet, better get a move on.


  • Innoventions Plaza may continue to get updates in the coming months.
  • It's a very strong rumor (almost so strong I shoulda posted it in News) that Disney is going to have a domestic Parks annual pass available soon for guests who want to visit both coast's parks. The price is expected to be in the $800 range.
  • The Main Street Electrical Parade may start a little sooner than early June. All depends on scheduling.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What's New, What's Next for WDW?

Today was a busy day in the Disney online community. Disney held a press conference at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and had a lot of announcements up their sleeve. Some exciting things are coming down the pike this for those of you who will be traveling this summer, get've got some great new excitement headed your way!

This summer, a new celebration called Summer Nightastic! will take place across the WDW Resort property.

The first new thing for the summer will be that the Main Street Electrical Parade will be coming back. Not seen since 2001, this parade will feature a new Tinkerbell float, plus it will feature the Snow White and Pinocchio floats as well that were previously seen at Disneyland Resort. The music is expected to be the same, however new technology will be integrated.

The next new event will be a brand new fireworks show for the Magic Kingdom. The show is not expected to be the Magic, Music, and Mayhem fireworks extravaganza from the former Pirates and Princess Parties as it was rumored earlier this week. The name of the show is still yet to be determined, however, it will focus on celebrating summer at WDW. This spectacle is expected to take place in place of Wishes for those summer months, however Wishes is expected to return once the summer months are over. Edit: I am hearing conflicting info now. It appears the show may very well be the Magic, Music, and Mayhem show, however, it will be changed slightly and will have a new name...but the show itself will likely be identical. Will keep you posted on the developments.

Also announced were some new plans for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios. A new drop sequence will be incorporated, as well as some new lighting effects. No word on if these new additions for TOT will be permanent or just for the summer.

That being said, it appears that everything else will be summer only. These new events are expected to begin starting early June (I'm hearing first week or so) and last through August.

Also announced was that the Animal Kingdom will have extended hours during the summer as well.

It's always so great when Disney brings in new, exciting activities and for those visiting this summer, it appears exciting times will abound. And the best part is, all of this will be included with park admission. No special party, no extra costs instituted, like they've been doing in the past with other events that take, this will be an every night occurance. Way to go Disney! I'd love to see you keep things like this up!

Almost makes me wish I had the money to plan for a WDW summer trip...hmmmm.....

Sunday, February 7, 2010

News & Rumors 2/1/10 - 2/7/10

News and Rumors are gathered from various different websites. One particular website is not favored over another. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken with a grain of salt.


  • The Monorail beam at Epcot is currently being cleaned. (Let me tell you, it makes a WORLD of difference!)
  • The Planet Hollywood on location store at DTD's Westside is now closed. You can still pick up gifts from Planet Hollywood at the store in the restaurant.
  • Mrs. Pott's Cupboard in Fantasyland has a new thatched roof, which is expected to play into the new Fantasy Forest theme coming in the Fantasyland refurb.
  • The Plaza Ice Cream Shop's exterior is currently under refurb. The shop is still open.
  • The McDonald's in DTD is expected to close April 30th and in it's place a new restaurant, Pollo Campero chicken, a Latin chicken restaurant. The new restaurant is expected to open late 2010.
  • The exit ramp at Space Mountain is now finished.
  • The Muppet What-Not Workshop is currently being worked on at DHS in the Muppet Store.
  • Goofy's Barnstormer will be turned into a Dumbo themed coaster, focusing on the clowns that appear in the movie.


  • When Pixie Hollow opens in the new Fantasyland refurb, expect a meet and greet a little more like a Turtle Talk with Crush experience. Tink may be able to fly all around you and interact with guests in real time, as well.
  • Suzy and Perla will no longer be appearing at CRT dinner. Actually, it appears the dinner will be changing a bit as well, becoming more of a princess meal, with other princesses taking their place and being now called Fairytale Dining.
  • Soon, it appears that JoJo and Goliath may not be doing meets anymore at DHS. They also will not be appearing at the Hollywood and Vine Play and Dine Buffet for breakfast or lunch. Handy Manny is possibly going to be taking their place at the restaurant.
  • The variable ending idea of Star Tours 2.0 has apparently been scrapped.
  • Animal Kingdom may be soon testing 2 parades a day.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fastpass Top 10

Updated:  1/31/14:  I see that this has become a popular post again, probably due to Fastpass+ being enacted.  For more information about Fastpass+, read this post. I have also recently written an updated post of attractions you should consider choosing FastPass+ for, which can be found here. I hope you enjoy your vacation! 

It's that time of year where families are just beginning deciding what they want to do for this year's family vacation. And for many people, they consider Disney as their vacation destination. Because of that, many websites have started relaying articles with tips for making the best Disney vacation.

AOL recently had an article of their top 10 attraction which should be Fastpassed. (For those who are unaware, Fastpass is a service Disney provides for free that basically holds your place in line for you. You put your park ticket in the Fastpass machine and it will spit back a ride time window for you to come back to the attraction during. Then you can do whatever you want in the park until your Fastpass is active. That is except get another Fastpass--unless the time window is greater than 2 hours from the time you got the Fastpass in the first place. Take a look at the bottom of your ticket to see when you can get another Fastpass for another attraction.)

Here is what they listed as their tips for the top 10 attractions to Fastpass:

1. Space Mountain (MK)
2. Mission:Space (EP)
3. Kilimanjaro Safaris (AK)
4. Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (DHS)
5. Expedition Everest (AK)
6. Splash Mountain (MK)
7. Kali River Rapids (AK)
8. Soarin (EP)
9. Test Track (EP)
10. Rock n' Roller Coaster (DHS)

Now, some of these I agree with but of course there were some that were left off this list that are glaringly missing. After touring the parks multiple times, I have my own idea on which attractions should be Fastpassed. Here is my top 10 tips.

1. Toy Story Midway Mania (DHS) - This attraction is absolutely pertinent to get a Fastpass for, especially if you want to ride it more than once. The line for this attraction is always super long, even in the off-peak times. (Although, in the off-peak times, I do find the wait a tiny bit more manageable, but still, it's better to get the Fastpass.) You will need to make sure to get a Fastpass early in the morning for this attraction though, as they run out EXTREMELY quickly! The only downside, if you do Fastpass the attraction, you miss out on seeing the really cool Mr. Potato Head Audio Anamatronic. Although, then again, maybe it's good you missed him...he sometimes gets old fast.
2. Soarin (EP) - Under most circumstances, I will not stand in line for this attraction unless I have a Fastpass. The line is always super long and the queue is quite boring to wait in for an hour, despite the fact that there are games that help keep you occupied during your wait. Trust me, get the Fastpass. You won't regret it.
3. Test Track (EP) - This is another attraction where if I don't have to wait in line, I'm not going to. It's another super long line without the Fastpass option. And it can be quite noisy in there as well, which can give you a headache if you have to wait for a very long time. Although this is an attraction that I like to hit up with the Single Rider option as well, since it is one of the few attractions on property with that option.
4. Space Mountain (MK) - This attraction was always one I would Fastpass, but now that it's been recently renewed, interest in this already popular attraction has increased. Sure there are games to keep you company in this attraction's line too, but I'd much rather avoid the games all together and hop on the ride with a minimal wait and Fastpass is the best way to do that.
5. Expedition Everest (AK) - This is another attraction where if you don't ride single rider, (which I frequently do, since I'm usually at this park alone) you need to Fastpass. It's a popular attraction at a park with minimal rides. Fastpass is going to be your friend here.
6. Rock n' Roller Coaster (DHS) - Once again, another attraction I'll ride with either the single rider option or Fastpass only. The line for this one CRAWLS with nothing to keep you occupied. There's not even much that's fun to look at.
7. Peter Pan's Flight (MK) - That's right...I said a kiddie ride. This attraction is best served up with a Fastpass. I can't see waiting in an hour plus wait for a dark ride, no matter how cool it is.
8. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (MK) - I much rather get the Fastpass for this one over it's sister mountain, Splash. This one always seems to have misleading wait times for me. And it's another one that seems to CRAWL. So, I do the Fastpass Big Thunder, get in the standby line for Splash, then head back to Big Thunder combo. Works much better. Although, if you choose, you can do it the other way. I just prefer to wait in Splash's line more. It seems to move more.
9. Winnie The Pooh (MK) - Yep. Another kiddie ride. But trust me, you'll need Fastpass on this one too...or you'll loose your sanity. (I swear I know the spiel for the attraction by heart...I hear the Spanish version in my sleep!)
10. Tower of Terror (DHS) - Granted, this one can be a toss up, I've seen this line be non-existent...however, when the crowds are there, this is one you want to Fastpass. Although, this does have a pretty darn cool queue. It might just be worth it to stand in line...if it's not too terribly long.

So, that's my list of my top 10 Fastpass attractions, but what are yours? Let me know in the comments section!

Monday, February 1, 2010

News & Rumors 1/25/10 - 1/31/10

News and Rumors are gathered from various different websites. One particular website is not favored over another. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken with a grain of salt.


  • Michael Colglazier has been named as the new Vice President of Disney's Animal Kingdom. He replaces Kevin Landsberry.
  • The new pizzeria slated for the Italy pavilion in Epcot is said to have 300 seats (outside dining will be available!)and will serve authentic Italian dishes and pizza. The new restaurant is expected to open in Fall 2010.
  • Pecos Bill's at the Magic Kingdom has a new offering. A 1/3 lb speciality Angus burger. This is currently only being tested out, but if it does well will be a regular addition.
  • Mickey's Jammin Jungle Parade at DAK has been pushed back to 4:45 pm, at least through the rest of February. It may become permanent if it is deemed successful.
  • Since Toontown at the Magic Kingdom will be no more soon, Disney is going be begin building Mickey and Minnie new areas to meet and greet their fans. The new meet will take place in the Town Square Expo Hall on Main Street. It appears this meet and greet area is expected to take up both of the theaters that were previously there. Construction is expected to begin soon.
  • The Cantina de San Angel has been totally demolished. Look for a new restaurant to be built in it's place. The new restaurant is expected to be open Fall 2010.
  • A new juggling act is being introduced into LaNouba. Juggler Anthony Gatto is expected to join the show Feb. 5th.
  • The AKL pool refurbishment is not quite done yet. The re-open date has been pushed back to Feb. 11th.


  • Construction for the new Fantasyland is expected to have begun by Feb. 1st, although mostly in areas unseen by the public. I'm hearing it might be until after Easter before construction begins to be seen in areas that guests can view. Also, it appears the Railroad will need to be shut down temporarily while they work on some of the New Fantasyland areas, specifically the Toontown Railroad.